The Age of (Faizon) Love: ‘Friday’s’ Big Worm on age and show business
BY DANIEL NASH
Whether or not you know Faizon Love by name, you’ve seen his work: The prolific comedian has appeared in more than 30 movies since 1992, including “Friday,” “Elf” and “Couples Retreat.”
Love came up during the stand-up boom of the ‘80s. By the time he was in his late teens he was performing at the Comedy Act Theater, where comic legend Robin Harris hosted one of the only stand-up showcases performed exclusively by black entertainers and catered to a black audience. Love would later provide the voice of the late Harris in “Bebe’s Kids,” the first animated film to feature a core cast of African-Americans.
A bit part in Robert Townsend’s “The Meteor Man” the next year would eventually lead to a series-long run as Townsend’s friend Wendell Wilcox on “The Parent ‘Hood.”
Love sat down with The Scene to talk about breaking into comedy, aging and his stand-up act.
SCENE: Did you meet Harris from his show in Los Angeles?
FAIZON LOVE: Yeah. That was one of the first and only black comedy shows at the time in L.A. That’s where everybody got their start, like Martin Lawrence, Chris Tucker, Damon Wayans. They all started there doing Robin’s show.
SCENE: How did you decide you wanted to be in show biz?
LOVE: I just knew I wanted to do it. I was a big fan of Freddie Prinze. And then when Eddie Murphy came on television, he was incredible. Here Eddie Murphy was, and he’s a brother, he’s so funny and he’s a young guy, too.
SCENE: Do you remember your first time on stage?
LOVE: It was at the Comedy Store which was … in an exclusive part of San Diego. And, it was very ritzy and white. We were out of place. We felt out of place.
SCENE: You were cast to play Harris in “Bebe’s Kids.” Was it intimidating playing Harris in a movie based on his most famous joke?
LOVE: No, not at all. Like I said, I had worked with Robin for years. (I had the blessing) of his mom and everybody else. So I just had fun with it. It was a great time.
SCENE: And then shortly after that, you were in “The Meteor Man.” Was that how you met Robert Townsend?
LOVE: Actually, yeah. His assistant saw me and then … I had the chance to audition. I read the part and I was like, “What the f— is this?!” (laughs) Chris Tucker was in the movie, too, and he said the same thing. But then he was cut out! (laughs harder) No, (Townsend) really trusted (assistant) Charlie at the time. At one point he came up and told me, “Robert would like to put you in a TV show.”
SCENE: That was “The Parent ‘Hood?”
LOVE: This was another show before that, a variety show.
SCENE: And then you were on “The Parent ‘Hood.”
LOVE: Yeah, they brought us in to shoot the pilot, me and Bobby McGee (who played Derek Waters in the first season). And that was actually awesome, I got a lot of calls from that. But they shot the pilot show, me and Bobby were both there. And I remember Bobby going, “Would you read these words? I’m not saying this B.S.” (laughs) And I said the same thing, “I’m not reading this B.S.” And I had said that on other projects, but that’s really a young thing. As Robin would say, you have to add your sprinkles. Make it your own. And I did that. It worked, it worked.
SCENE: So, clearly, I’m more familiar with your acting work than your standup. How would you describe your act?
LOVE: It’s just about my life and how I see it. And how my life could be better. You know, life’s like this, why can’t it be like this, how I want it? Basically, the world’s upside down … because I’m old now.
SCENE: How has age changed your perspective?
LOVE: You just see things differently, the way things are. You cherish your friends, you find out who your true friends are. You know what? It’s like this: When you’re 20, you want to see the farm. When you’re 30, you want to look around the farm. And when you’re 45 like I am now, you just want to sit down and look at what’s around you. Hey, look at that bird, you know?
SCENE: Do you have any projects coming up?
LOVE: Yes, I have a comedy special coming up. It’s called “When Giants Stand.”
Faizon Love will play the Parlor Live! comedy club Nov. 29 to Dec. 1. $20-$35. More information can be found at parlorlive.com.
Daniel Nash is a staff writer at the Bellevue Reporter.